July 8, 2021
It’s already been a year since our first Co-Pro Cuppa event, giving us the perfect opportunity to look back at how the event series changed since 2020 and explore their future.
The very first Co-Pro Cuppa came about in July 2020 as National Co-production Week approached, and we were still figuring out how our work should continue through the first lockdown in the UK. At the time, celebrating in a safe and meaningful way still felt difficult.
Initially called “Drop-Ins”, the Cuppas were Niccola’s brainchild. She was inspired when some of our co-producers mentioned to her how much they missed the face-to-face interaction of co-creation sessions, especially the part just before the session where we settle in with a cup of tea or coffee and have a natter. Looking at our first session plan, it’s clear that from the very beginning, the Cuppas were meant to be as informal as possible. Without any agenda, these events offered a space to join for as much time as you please and discuss whatever area of co-production that interest people in attendance the most. This is still true to this day!
After those first sessions we received lots of feedback about how much people enjoyed the space – and that we needed longer to chat! We still have no agenda but our regular Cuppas (which began to take place monthly in 2021) have been extended our Cuppas from the initial 1-hour length to 1.5 hours. As organisers, it’s especially exciting to see how our co-producers shape the conversation each time we have a Cuppa; we never know what to expect, in true co-production style.
The Cuppas have evolved into a useful way for newcomers to Co-Production Collective, and to co-production itself, to get a taster of what we’re all about. We’ve been overwhelmed by the popularity of the Cuppas since we’ve been running them regularly, with registrations often topping 40 people, approximately 50% of whom are new faces. Even more positive has been seeing those people return the following month!
It’s been a long year, in many ways. But as a team, the Cuppas truly brighten our weeks and months, helping to reset our focus by reconnecting us as a community even though we can’t see each other face-to-face.
From PhD students looking for advice on trying to co-produce within the limits of academic structures, to carers who have helped shape local services, or simply someone interested in co-production as a concept - everyone is welcome. The diversity of background, experience and knowledge mean that the conversations are always interesting, and we always come away buzzing.
So, to mark a year of Cuppas (and hopefully many more to come), we want to know what you think! What do you value about the Cuppas? How could we improve or develop them?
Whether you’ve been along to one Cuppa or every single one, we’d love to know your thoughts. Share your ideas by completing our survey (it should only take about 2 minutes).
And finally, don’t forget to check out our Events page for the latest Cuppa dates – we can’t wait to see you there!